by Andrew Kliman
To the Platypus Affiliated Society:
I decline your invitation to participate in a Left Forum panel on “Marxism in the Age of Trump,” for two reasons.
First, you write,
We ask the panelists to consider the following questions: …
Why has Trump incited such hysteria on the Left? How do we make sense of this phenomenon?
What would it mean to oppose Trump from the Left?
These questions make clear that the panel is designed to ridicule and disparage the anti-Trump Resistance, which I support and am part of. The fear of Trumpism experienced by tens of millions of immigrants, Muslims, Blacks, women, leftists, and others is completely legitimate, not hysterical.
Nor is it a barrier to action. From the moment when Trump was elected to the present, literally millions of us have turned our fears into a material force to oppose both Trumpism and collaboration with it—from the Left. In addition to the five million or so people around the country (and throughout the world) who spontaneously poured into the Women’s Marches that took the unprecedented action of opposing a new administration, in its totality, from the very start, there have been almost continual protests in the streets, at the airports, and in town halls, as well as strikes by women and immigrants.
Second, the panel serves to normalize the views of Platypus founder Chris Cutrone and other alleged “leftists” who are pro-Trump, soft-on-Trump, and/or “understanding of” Trumpism. By bringing together people who hold widely different various views on Trumpism, the panel’s structure will communicate that all such views are legitimate on the left, subject to debate within it. I will not be party to this. I have debated and will debate class enemies (even “libertarians”), but only in contexts that make clear that we stand on opposite sides of the barricades, opposite sides of the class divide.
As a Marxist-Humanist, it is my responsibility to help reclaim the meaning of “the left” by ridding it of those who are pro-Trump, soft-on-Trump, and/or “understanding of” Trumpism. The left needs to stand for freedom and the rights of all human beings once again. Marxist-Humanist Initiative took on this responsibility last August. It has now become an even more urgent priority. In the meantime, much of “the left” in the U.S. has decided to collaborate with Trumpism by offering an alternative version of “populism” that it hopes his authoritarian white-nationalist base will find appealing, and much of the French “left” regards even non-opposition to the election of Le Pen—abstention or handing in blank ballots—as a canny political move that furthers the interests of “the left.”
We must say “No! The left needs to stand for freedom and the rights of all human beings once again.” On this May Day, Marxists must re-affirm what we have said for 169 years: Working people have no country. We cannot take from them what they have not got. Working people of all countries, unite!
May 1, 2017